Wendy Cukier was set to begin her time as Brock University’s President and Vice-Chancellor on September 1, however due to unknown reasons the two parties have mutually agreed not to continue with the appointment. Although, there have been reports on the reason why Cukier parted ways mutually with Brock.
The announcement of the parties mutually parting ways came on August 29 in a statement from John Suk, the Board Chair for Brock’s Board of Trustees.
“It is with great regret that I am announcing that Dr. Wendy Cukier and the Board of Trustees of Brock University have arrived at a mutual decision to not proceed with her appointment as President and Vice-Chancellor of Brock University,” Suk said in the statement.
There have been multiple reports on the reason behind why Cukier and Brock parted ways three days before the Brock alumna was to begin her appointment. Cukier will now return back to Ryerson University, where she was employed before the announcement of her presidency at Brock.
Cukier is reportedly on “post-administrive leave” at the moment and will return to Ryerson as a faculty member at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management.
According to thestar.com, Ryerson had hired an external investigator last year regarding allegations of workplace bullying by Cukier.
Thestar.com also mentioned that there were multiple internal emails and interviews with former staff, which accused Cukier of creating a “toxic” work environment.
The allegations reportedly came from an anonymous email account, which claimed to have views of 15 staffers at Ryerson. These allegations were made at the time Cukier was Ryerson’s vice-president, research and innovation.
According to thestar.com a report produced by the external investigator was delivered to Ryerson last January after interviews with members of Cukier’s office.
There are no reports of if any action was taken
Cukier, a Brock graduate, would have been the university’s first female president. She graduated from Brock in 1979 with degrees in history and English.
Former president at Brock Jack Lightstone announced his retirement in June after 10 years, he was 65 years old. Brian Hutchings, who was the Vice President of Finance and Administration, replaced Lightstone on in interim basis until Cukier’s appointment would begin. According to the St. Catharines Standard, Hutchings will stay on as interim president for the time being.
“Details regarding the formal search for Brock University’s President and Vice-Chancellor will be announced at a later date,” said Suk.
Patrick Foster, Brock’s Student Union president spoke on the matter saying he does not have much information on the issue.
“I never met (Cukier), but I was excited to start my term with her, as we’d both be new presidents at Brock,” said Foster.
“A lot of people ask me in this time of uncertainty and this time of uncertain leadership in our institution if I’m worried? I’m not worried at all just because we have such a phenomenal working relationship with Brian Hutchings.”
Foster could not comment on much more, but he will respect the process the Board of Trustees take to find the next president of Brock.
Brock has had six presidents in school history.
Dr. James A. Gibson from 1963-1973
Dr. Alan Earp was acting president from 1973-1974 before coming on for a full-time basis from 1974-1988
Dr. Terry White followed from 1989-1996
Dr. Susan Clark was acting president from 1996-1997
Dr. David Atkinson took over from 1997-2005
Dr. Terry Boak was acting president during the 2005-2006 school year before Lightstone was appointed
Make sure to keep checking brockpress.com for more updates on this story.
Satbir Singh, Editor-in-Chief